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Marx in America

April 13, 2011

We often pride ourselves in America as being thoroughly capitalist.  We do in fact have the most open and free economic system, allowing us to gain wealth as we please.  Climbing up the socio-economic ladder in America is made simple because of this economic freedom, there have never been restraints or obstacles to gaining fiscal prosperity.  And yet, it seems that this capitalist ideology is slowly adopting policies for which Marx and Engels so vigorously fought.   Though many grow irate and denounce any such statements that I am about to make, I still believe it needs to be said; President Obama and Congress have readily adopted Marxist policies, and thus are threatening our capitalist society.

On the campaign trail in 2008, then Senator Obama was talking with a local small business owner, who we all know today as “Joe the Plumber”.  This is part of the discussion they had.

As he explains his objective for tax increases on $250,000 plus earners, he mentions a very interesting point, “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”  This immediately rang a bell in my head.  Isn’t this what Marx believes too?  Just saying “spread the wealth around”, sounds harmless enough.  Sure, I’ll take some of that wealth, just spread it on over here.  But when you think about it, where is this money actually being “spread” from.  It’s the rich and wealthy in the country that are being punished for their work and their family’s work through these class specific tax hikes.  Though technically it’s legal, raising taxes on the rich and giving that revenue to the poorer is a form of abolishing property.  Once those richer folks had money that was theirs, and now the government says it has to be taken away from them and redistributed.  In the communist manifesto, Marx explains his communist goals.

“The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property.”

Marx specifically targets the upper class bourgeois, claiming that their property is the property that must be taken away.  Isn’t this what Obama is doing?  Isn’t he specifically singling out upper class America, claiming it’s time they give up more of their property?  Undoubtedly there is this significant parallel.   I will clarify that just because the government taxes its people, doesn’t mean it abides by Marxism.  Taxation is necessary to provide a government with revenue.  Rather, it is the targeted and unnecessarily higher rate of taxation on the upper class which aligns itself with Marxist ideology.  Unfortunately this is a policy which our Commander in Chief so strongly promotes.

  1. Brian Wandschneider permalink
    April 13, 2011 5:28 PM

    I agree that we are seeing America slowly become more and more socialist, especially with Obama in office. The progressive tax rates and Obamacare are just the beginning as socialism become more prevalent around the world. I like your point that it a high tax rate on the upper class is essentially stealing from the wealthy. However, I don’t think we are anywhere near Marxism, or will ever become a communist, Marxist country. Capitalism is too strong of a belief in America, and the American Dream comes from the idea of being able to create something for yourself through capitalism. I expect to see America come a lot closer to a true socialist country, but I think the capitalist roots will remain.

  2. Layne Simescu permalink
    April 13, 2011 7:56 PM

    I personally don’t see the problem with a more socialist America. The capitalist society in America has contributed to the exploitation of the lower class by the elite minority. Socialism would get rid of monopolies by big companies and would end unfair wages for more strenuous jobs. Each worker would get a fair wage for his or her work. Health care and education would be equally available for each person. A more socialist economy would lessen the amount of poverty in America. With roughly 15% (44 million) of Americans living below the poverty line, I think that capitalism isn’t really working as well as we think.

  3. Nicholas Steiner permalink
    April 14, 2011 11:29 AM

    This was an interesting connection with our readings on Marx and communism. It does seem as though some of Obama’s policies have a socialist taste to them. When I was watching a cartoon in discussion about the threats of communism it reminded me that even though some policies make it sound like “spreading the wealth” is a good thing, it is sometimes hard to see the downfalls of these policies over the glamour of what they could provide. The video is found on YouTube . Although this is an extreem version of anti-capitalist policies, we can expect that some more gentle forms of consequences will emerge. Take for example some social institution such as Social Security. Although the idea that we can help the elderly when they can no longer work is something that no one should disagree with, we are now seeing that it might just be too expensive. I am worried about this happening with universal healthcare. When we think of what Marx is arguing for we might see only the good of being payed for what we deserve and not falling under capitalist’s grasp, but this could come with having to let go of some of Locke’s policies of “keep what you earn”. We should definitely consider the positives and negatives of policies and not just be attracted to what they are suppose to bring on the surface.

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